June 2017

June 1-3, 2017:

See May Blog – these were days of recovery.

We did have one problem ~ our refrigerator/freezer decided to go kaput.  Fortunately we had a neighbor in the RV park, Ross, who was actually an RN at the hospital where Tamara had been on the Surgery floor for 5 days.   Ross had been the RN several times for the lady in the hospital bed next to Tamara’s.  Ross was kind enough to help us by taking the food off our hands as we had to empty our refrigerator/freezer. Brian turned the refrigerator/freezer off and on and it is now working, but not trusted. It is now on the casualty list for repairs.

June 4, 2017:

It’s time to get back on the road, our first stop was Rugby, ND to see the Prairie Village Museum we tried to see a week ago.     So glad we are both healthy – the Prairie Museum was amazing.  This museum tells a great story of the local community.   Multiple original buildings, great dioramas, lots of cool antiques, we spent over an hour wandering the museum buildings.

 

This drive from Minot to Rugby took about 90 minutes – definitely needed to get out and do a little walking as Tamara worked on getting back into the routine of driving/traveling again.

Next stop Bismarck, ND the state capitol.

 

Dinner this evening was at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store – our first opportunity to stop here on this trip.   Food was excellent and it was time to check into our campsite – Bismarck KOA Kampground.   We’re here for 2 nights.

June 5, 2017:

First stop today is the State Capitol – got some great shots and on the grounds of the capitol we visited the North Dakota Heritage Center.    On our way into the Heritage Center we ran into a reporter doing a piece on the value of tourism in North Dakota.  She asked to interview us – which we said yes too.  It was a fun side note.

We spent over an hour wandering through the Heritage Center.   Lots of information about the state as a whole, how it was home to the Indians, then a Territory and how it became a state along with its sister South Dakota.   Very well set up.

We then visited the Bismarck Temple ~ Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  More walking for Tamara as she walked around the temple taking photos.

 

Next stop was Keelboat Park – the city of Bismarck has set up a scale replica of the Lewis & Clark Keelboat.  Interesting looking boat that was used from St Louis up the Missouri River by the Lewis & Clark exploration party.

 

Next stop the original site of the beginnings of Bismarck – Camp Hancock.  There are 3 buildings and a train engine – unfortunately the museum office was closed, so we were able to wander the grounds and view the exteriors of the buildings.

Finally time for lunch – we found an Irish Pub the Blarney Stone.   Tamara is not quite ready for spicy food and lunch was a little too spicy.

Now it’s time for Pirates of the Caribbean – Dean Men Tell No Tales.   Fun movie – perfect setup for Johnny Depp, and if the hype is to be believed the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

June 6, 2017:

Up and at’em this morning – heading out of Bismarck, places to see, and we need to get to Rapid City, SD in next few days.  We have an appointment on June 14th to get warranty/repair work done on the Minnie Winnie.

First stop today is Fort Abraham Lincoln State Historic Park.   We’ve had a lot of stops in last few weeks where we backtracked George Custer’s career.    At Fort Abraham Lincoln he was the man in charge – the 7th Calvary was quartered here, and when it was time to head out for Little/Big Horn this was where they left from.  The home of Mr and Mrs Custer is beautifully apportioned, lovely furnishings and large airy rooms.

 

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Just down the road is Fort McKeen, the original infantry fort site – it was more a lookout than a fort.    Also just down the road is the On-a-Slant Mandan Village.   We took the tour with the ranger, and the opportunity to hear the story direct is always a plus.   This ranger has been doing this tour for 13 years.

 

Time to head out for our next stop – Lewis & Clark Winter Fort aka Fort Mandan.   In 1804 on their way up the Missouri River, the Lewis & Clark party needed a resting spot during the winter storms.  They actually built a small fort to use for the winter.   There were approx. 25-30 people part of this exploratory group including a contingent of soldiers.

 

Time to head out for Carrington, ND.  We had dinner in the local joint and in speaking with the waitress she thought there was a place in town we could overnite in our RV.  It was down the road, near the park.   So off we went at 7:30 pm to see if we could find a camping spot.    So COOL – the local Lyons Club had set up approx. 10 spaces with water & electric for people to pay on your honor.  It was $20 and we were one of two staying in the park this evening.

June 7, 2017:

We woke up in Carrington, ND, a quick breakfast and off we go.  We need to be in Cooperstown, ND by 10 am for the first tour of the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site.   During the Cold War missile silos were built throughout the plains of the United States.   Multiple silos were controlled by one Minuteman Missile site.  Though now decommissioned, we were able to tour the site both topside and 50’ below.

 

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Now we’re off to Jamestown, ND.    First stop is National Buffalo Museum and the Frontier Village.  The National Buffalo Museum is all about saving the Buffalo.  At one point there were over 30 million buffalo roaming the plains, before 1900 the buffalo population was reduced to less than 1,000.  Now the population of the buffalo is on the rise at almost 300,000.

Frontier Village is made up of old buildings relocated to a central area and set up as a town street.  Some have operating businesses in them, others set up as a museum.  It was very touristy.

Now time for lunch – we headed out to see what we could find and found The Depot Café, Jamestown, ND.  Lunch was really good, Brian tried a German specialty and Tamara had the vegetable beef soup.

Now time for the Stutsman County Memorial Museum in Jamestown, ND.  The locals have come together to make a new museum – or place to store their families treasures (junk).   Everyone has a story – though things clutter our homes, this is a great way to share our clutter with others.

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Now off to Aberdeen, SD.

June 8, 2017:

We woke up in Aberdeen, SD today – our first full day in South Dakota since we were here in January.  Our RV site is located near a local attraction – Storybook Land – they count themselves as the home of the Wizard of Oz since L. Frank Baum used to live in Aberdeen, SD.  Wylie Park RV Park.

Big day today – went to the local Motor Vehicle office and Tamara finally became an official South Dakota resident.   Her driver’s license has been issued and her California license confiscated.

Now off to the Dacotah Prairie Museum located in Aberdeen, SD.   2 stories of interesting information about the local community, and the state development.   We stop at a lot of museums – some are free, some have a minimal expense, others more.   By stopping at the little, the medium and larger museums it is amazing the things you can learn – not only about the local community but about what was going on in the rest of the country and sometimes the world.   It helps to put the various pieces together about how East moved West, and how the local community interacts with the Nation/World at large.

Heading for Mobridge, SD – decided to try Mexican food  in South Dakota so we stopped at a local restaurant La Cabana in Mobridge, SD.   It was pretty good – we’ve definitely had much worse in California.

We visited a local museum – Klein Museum in Mobridge, SD.   This local museum had 3 older properties physically relocated to this property:  house, church & school.   This museum consisted of 6 buildings, the main building was mostly filled with locally donated items, wherein they recreated various scenarios including: doctor’s office, dentist, front parlor, beauty salon, trading fort, local grocer, and many more.   They had a building wherein they had created a tool shed and a separate blacksmith shop from turn of the century.    Tamara really enjoyed this setup – Brian just loves how people’s “old junk” finds new life in museum exhibits.

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Just outside of town is a monument to Sakakewa (aka: Sacajawea) – the only woman to be part of the Lewis & Clark expedition of 1804-1806.   There is also a monument to Sitting Bull – it is disputed whether he is buried in this location or not.  Sitting Bull was originally buried at Fort Yates – his grand nephew petitioned the Bureau of Indian Affairs to relocate Sitting Bull to a site more suitable for his Uncle’s final resting spot.   After receiving approval to relocate him, his grand-nephew came in with a backhoe in the middle of the night dug up the body and relocated it – to this site near Mobridge, SD.   The authorities in Fort Yates say the human body was not taken, a horse buried with Sitting Bull was what was taken.   Who knows.

Next stop Pierre, SD.  Had dinner at Perkins Restaurant in Fort Pierre, SD.

June 9, 2017

Woke up in Fort Pierre, SD today – across the Missouri River from Pierre, SD the State Capitol for South Dakota.    In looking for a place to stay we found a little park right on the river with water/electric hookups for $15.  Fischers Lilly Park.  Sewer was available at the entrance so if you wanted to dump you could.

After breakfast and breaking down our RV we headed into Pierre, SD.    We made it to the Capitol grounds to get a few photos before heading out to the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center.   The Heritage Center was set up very well showing the growth of South Dakota as a state.  In speaking with the docent he explained that the collection on the viewing floor was only approx. 10% of available items – 90% are held in storage, mostly because the donors do not wish their items viewed, just stored by the state.  People actually come to the Center to view their items and make sure they are not being shown.   Kind of strange in our opinion, but a great free storage option for family heirlooms.

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Time to get on the road – we’re heading towards Rapid City to spend a week viewing all kinds of different things in the Rapid City area.   Our next stop is the Badlands of South Dakota.

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Time change in effect – we crossed from Central Time back to Mountain Time – gained an hour, yeah.

This afternoon we received the bittersweet news that our home in California has closed escrow.  The buyers were very excited to get their keys, and we are officially without a residential house payment.

The Badlands is a National Park – fee to get in is $20/vehicle – with our National Park pass we saved the $20 and quickly got through the front gate and into the park.    What an amazing place – Nature has made many beautiful things in this world.  We did some climbing, and walking among the rocks.   We hope you enjoy our photos.

We did the drive through the park, then it was off to Wall, SD.      In January we had to come to Sioux Falls, SD to establish our residency and for Brian to get his driver’s license.    We had taken a drive along the US-90 from the East part of the state to the West part, just a 90 minute drive, but we saw several signs about stopping in Wall, SD.     As we entered back into SD we’ve seen MANY more signs about stopping in Wall, SD.   So thanks to great advertising – we took the turnoff into a town of 800 people to go to a tourist trap – Hustead’s Wall Drugs.    Mr and Mrs Hustead in 1931 purchased the existing Wall Drugs in Wall, SD using some inheritance money.   Their families thought they were crazy moving to such a desolate spot.    They gave themselves 5 years to be successful….1936 rolled around, and Mr Hustead was starting to think it was time to give up on this dream when his wife had a dream/epiphany/answer from God.   She told her husband they needed to tap into all that traffic on the highway passing their town by on their way to and from Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, etc.   Here were all these potential customers – she wrote an ad that would entice all these people on the highway to get off and come and get a free glass of ice water, 5 cent coffee, take a break from the drive.   Well Mr. Hustead listened to his wife, but feeling foolish he took a young man from town the following weekend and put out signs along the highway.    As he returned to the store, the line was out the door, and as people came for their free ice water, they would buy snacks, ice cream cones, medications, etc. and their dream was realized.  This business has grown immeasurably since 1936, and the family is still actively involved in the running of Wall Drugs and the business now being done.    During a typical summer day they can have 20,000 tourists at this business – remember the town is only 800 people.   How amazing!!

From Wall, SD we headed into Rapid City, SD.   We are here for a week – with LOTS to see, so we picked up a rental car in order to get around to the various sites we’re looking forward to seeing.   Since Tamara’s surgery almost 2 weeks ago she has been letting Brian do all the driving – but with an RV & a rental car, Tamara is back behind the wheel.    She is feeling much better and hasn’t had to have any pain pills in over 36 hours.  After getting the RV setup, we set off to do some quick grocery shopping in order to prepare for the next week.

June 10, 2017:

The list of places and things to do is mighty long for Rapid City, SD.   Our first trip is to Devils Tower.   With the rental car, travel was quick – it was an approx. 90 minute drive from Rapid City, SD to Devils Tower, WY.

Happy Days – it’s a National Park – park fee is $15/vehicle BUT with our National Parks Pass – FREE.  This pass has officially paid for itself.   As just an FYI – Devils Tower is the FIRST National Park.   In an underhanded/sneaky way in the late 1800’s early 1900’s the government ACTIVELY denied settlement rights to anyone who’s property would have included the Devils Tower – the local residents and state government got together and actively labeled congress to declare this a preserve, state park, something that would protect it.  The Federal government opted to turn it into initially a Federal Preserve which allowed it to be turned into a National Park in 1906.

Next stop was Sturgis, SD.   I’ve seen Sturgis on several TV shows – which includes Pawn Stars.  A small town that has found its niche as the gathering place for motorcyclists – they have taken to heart the idea of providing everything a motorcyclist could want or need.     While Brian visited the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, Tamara took a walk along the main tourist shopping center.

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Brian found the museum good – he’s seen better and he’s seen worst.     Tamara did a little shopping, she finally found a mug she would like.

Just down the road from Sturgis is a little township known as Buffalo Chip – it’s current claim to fame is that it is the main staging area for the Sturgis Motorcycle event.

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Fort Meade was the next stop – turns out that this Fort was founded in 1878 – but it is actually still being used.  The South Dakota National Guard uses the fort for gathering and training.  There is an active VA Hospital also located at the Fort.   Brian did the fort tour and found great information about the local customs – including the fact that at one point in time the military banned its members from going to Deadwood as the town was too bawdy, and the people in town were taking advantage of the military members.

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Back to Rapid City we go – time for some dinner – decided to try Golden Corral – the food was very good, and we had an enjoyable evening.

June 11, 2017:

Sunday – rest day?   Maybe – got up and had a nice breakfast before heading out to 11 am church.  We enjoyed the cute little church down the road.   We’ve been in many different LDS Chapels throughout our lives, but this was an unusual chapel shape – almost an octagon.   Church was out at 12:15 pm.  Back to the RV to change – we have things to do.

Tamara went to the movies to see Wonder Woman and Brian had lunch with a friend Rich Rivera – Brian and Rich used to play Magic the Gathering in Lancaster, CA when Rich was much younger, Brian too.   Rich moved to Rapid City with family several years ago.   He shared that jobs are so plentiful, that part time employers expect you have a 2nd job, and will work your weekly work schedule around your 2nd and or 3rd jobs.

After the movie and lunch it was back to the RV to do laundry, and some housekeeping.   We actually had a very pleasant afternoon getting things done, and just sharing time together.

June 12, 2017:

Monday morning – today is an opportunity to visit an American must see – Mt. Rushmore.   The drive from our RV Park to Mt. Rushmore took about 30 minutes – it was a beautiful drive through hills, trees and wildlife.   Walked into the flag walkway where there is a flag for every state and province of the Union.

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Then the VIEW – the Amazing View of Mt. Rushmore.   It was an emotional viewing ~ for many years we’ve heard about the great Mt Rushmore, little did we know that great was an understatement.   Tamara found herself crying as she just sat and took in the view.    After enjoying the view for a time we took the time to go through and take in the museum.   The story behind the view is a true American success story complete with highs and lows, financial deficit and sufficient funds to close the deal.     Though the complete project was not done – the important visual impact is there for all to see.

After viewing the mountain we went into the town of Keystone, SD and attended the Borglund Museum – Borglund was the sculptor who designed & implemented Mt Rushmore.   Though he did not live to see the final final product, his son knew his vision and finished the finalizing details in 1942 but the balance of the unfinished unseen work still lies undone.   There was to be a vault and viewing area closer to the mountain.  He did some great sculptures – and some we just could not relate too.

We did some shopping locally – Brian has been waiting to visit the local leather store to buy a new wallet.   He found what he was looking for.  We got a reference to a local restaurant for lunch.  We went to Powder House Lodge and Restaurant – we had buffalo burger and the buffalo, elk & deer kabobs.

We attended the Keystone Museum – the museum is located in the old school house.  It opened in 1901 and closed in 1988 – it only closed because there were only 8 students.  One of their local legends was Carrie Ingalls – Laura Ingall’s younger sister.   The museum is free – and though a bit sparse, it was definitely a nice little stop.

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Time to head back towards Rapid City – the road back has a lot of little places to stop – history, fun, food, etc.   One of these stops was the Founding Father’s exhibit.  There is a famous painting by John Turnbull entitled Signing of the Declaration of Independence.    This exhibit takes that painting and turns it into a 3D/lifesize exhibit with an audio overview of the Declaration of Independence.

June 13, 2017:

We’re up and at’em early today.  We want to get to the nature loop and Custer Park early to see as many animals as possible.    We headed out in our rental car towards Custer Park to view the animals in their natural habitats.  We saw buffalo, buffalo and more buffalo.   It was a beautiful drive through a Federal Park.

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Next stop was a drive through Needles Highway.  From pasture and open spaces to soaring mountains and jagged rocky peaks in a little over an hour.  We saw some great animals in their natural habitat and much more of God’s beauty in the landscape.

 

Then it was off to Hill City to the Railroad Museum where we were slightly disappointed in the museum but the train ride on the 1880 Train from Hill City to Keystone was awesome.  We saw some great natural scenery, some manmade scenery as well as several local wildlife.   The 1880’s train was as authentic as they could make it, open windows, and an opportunity to just enjoy life.

While in Hill City we also went to visit the Everything Prehistoric Museum at Black Hills Institute.   A local gymnasium that was converted and filled to the gills with dinosaur bones – some original/real and others casts that had been made of original bones.  But – almost ALL were of dinosaurs found in South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and other states.   They are also the original founder of Sue the T-Rex the basis for the documentary Dinosaur 13.  A local man who lived on leased land from the US Dept of Forestry found a dinosaur bone – he made arrangements with the Black Hills Institute to purchase and dig out the rest of the fossil for $5,000.      Shortly after Sue was unburied and brought to the Institute the Federal Government came in and confiscated Sue – claiming that the man who sold Sue had no right to sell something from land he did not own, remember he was leasing the land.

After years of disputes and lawsuits – the man received Sue back and sold her for over a $1m to a museum in Chicago – who made a cast of Sue and gave that to the Black Hills Institute for their museum.  That is the short story – I need to get a better internet access and watch the Documentary Dinosaur 13 on Netflix.

One more stop before we head back to Rapid City – the monument Crazy Horse.    We had some large expectations after seeing Mt. Rushmore yesterday – but unfortunately this monument fell short.   Their philosophy is that this project will be done with private funds – not government so the work will only progress as there are funds to complete the project.    The face is complete, but the hand, the horse, still need to be completed.   We were disappointed to say the least and feel that this monument may not be completed in our children’s lifetimes, let alone our grandchildren.

Time to head back to Rapid City – time for some dinner.  We stopped in Rockerville, SD at the Gaslight Restaurant & Saloon.   Food is really good – nice people running the place as well.

June 14, 2017:

First thing today we dropped off the motorhome at Dakota RV.  We had some warranty work that needs to be done, as well as a few repairs.

This morning is a ME morning for both of us.     Tamara went to the mall and got her nails done as well as a pedicure.   Did some walking around the mall and had lunch at Fuddrucker’s.

Brian had two museums to attend:

South Dakota Air & Space Museum – located right next to Ellsworth AFB makes it kind of cool to look at the displays outside while active duty jets are taking off and landing.  They have approx. 20 aircraft outside as static displays including a B1B Bomber, B29, B52 and many early jet fighters and some civilian/military small prop jobs.  Inside is mostly devoted too displays dedicated to different time periods from WWII to Desert Storm.  Watched an interesting video of an interview of a WASP pilot that was approx. 30 min long, a forgotten part of history.

Motion Unlimited is as much a car lot as car museum.  They have numerous project cars for sale and also many completed.  They have 3 separate buildings of muscle cars as well as 1930’s cars.  Amongst the buildings is a huge collection of other personal treasures.   They have so many toy cars, oil cans, spark plugs, esp pedal cars, some even for sale.  They are also always ready to purchase pedal cars.  It is located outside of town, so they don’t get much attendance.  Thanks Mike Macino for the recommendation.

Back together again, the RV is ready and they gave us a referral for where to get our oil change done – unfortunately they are unable to get us in until Friday morning, which we will do.

After we got the RV back to the park and set up, we headed for a dinosaur walking tour – in 1936 this park was built as a tourist park – there are 7 dinosaur statues that is a nice walking tour.

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Last stop was the Black Hills Gold Store – we were hoping to attend the tour but it was too late.  We did some pick up some fun jewelry for Tamara – new earrings and a necklace.

June 15, 2017:

Deadwood, SD is our stop today.   We arrived and went straight to the Adams Museum & House.    Mr. Adams purpose built this museum to share the heritage of Deadwood as well as South Dakota.  Three stories sharing history from beginning to current times.

 

We then walked around Deadwood and saw a fun little melodrama on the street telling the story of a resident who was shot in the forehead and lived to tell the tale for a few months.  There are all kinds of crazy stories of the old west.

We had lunch at the Nugget Saloon – Brian had the Ultimate Burger and Tamara had fish and chips.    Did some more wandering on the way back to the car and did a little gambling – Brian finished ahead and Tamara finished behind.  But we had fun.

We then headed to the local cemetery – Mt Moriah.   Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok’s graves are here.   There was a cost of $2 to walk through the cemetery.

Next stop was a trip up the mountain to view a large tower built on a mountain as a memorial to Teddy Roosevelt.   Originally this tower was visible from Mt Moriah Cemetery, but now the trees are grown too high and obstruct the view.

June 16, 2017:

This morning we have an 8 a.m. appointment to have our oil changed – so we dropped off the car at the airport car rental, then headed out to drop off the RV with the service provider.   About a ¼ mile down the road was a Perkins restaurant where we walked down to have breakfast.

After the oil change we headed out – East.   Time to move on.   Our first stop was the 1880 Original Western Town in Midland, SD.    Lots of old buildings – many in disrepair.   We walked around town, and enjoyed the buildings and furnishings available to see.

 

Next stop was Pioneer Auto Show – 42 buildings filled with lots of stuff, and a lot of it related to cars.   American Pickers has visited here twice to pick, and they recently sold one of their Antique Archaeology vans to Pioneer Auto Show Museum.   It was a great museum – we could have spent a lot more time here.

We stayed in Oacoma, SD – just outside of Chamberlain, SD.  We stayed in a park – where when we checked in we were dry camping and they said – go over to this section and wherever there is a space – take it.

June 17, 2017:

It rained all night – we packed it up and headed out for the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center/Missouri River Overlook.  A very nice rest area with a little history about Lewis & Clark and their journey along the Missouri.

We had intended to take some time to experience the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, SD – this particular museum would be a great place for kids to get out and experience working on the ranch and experiencing life on the prairie.   We opted not to stay and got lunch in town.

Headed back out towards Fargo, ND.  With not spending time in De Smet we felt it would be an easy drive to Fargo, ND, so off we went.   Amazing drive, lots of fields and quiet roads taking us NE into ND.

June 18, 2017:

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

After boondocking last nite at Walmart, we woke up in Fargo, ND.   Brian has been asking about crepes for a while – so off we went to IHOP for breakfast.  It was a busy morning for Father’s Day but breakfast was good and we were off to our first stop for the day.

Brian has been looking forward to visiting the Air Museum in Fargo, ND.     It’s a small museum, about a dozen airplanes including a DC-3, P-51D, B-25 and their jewel GlobalHawk.  They also have the most correct Wright Flyer according to the Smithsonian.  Most of their aircraft are airworthy, overall not bad.

Time for Bonanzaville – a North Dakota village.   We spent almost 2 hours visiting – walking – enjoying the exhibits – really we needed at least another hour to really appreciate everything.  Buildings included:  creamery, store, saloon, several old 1 room or 2 room houses, a church, several barns full of tractors, cars, planes, a police station as well as a courthouse.  There was much more …. And it was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Went to Kroll’s Diner for lunch – excellent lunch.

Last stop in Fargo was the Walk of Fame at the Visitor’s Center.   A local businessman in the late 1980’s early 1990’s wanted to draw business to downtown, he began his own walk of fame – when local celebrities and national celebrities came to town, he’d capture their signatures, hands and sometimes their foot/shoe prints in cement.   Included here were Debbie Reynolds, Richard Simmons, Bill Gates, Patsy Cline and so many more.  Bands, Singers, Actors and more are represented here.

 

Now it’s time for Minnesota – off through the back roads, a trip to Bemidji, MN where we stayed at the KOA.

June 19, 2017:

From Bemidji it’s time to head towards Duluth, MN.  On the way is a beautiful drive through forests, across rivers and a stop at the Mississippi River.

In Bemidji as we headed out of town we stopped at the Paul Bunyon & his big blue ox Babe statues erected in the 1930’s.   They are located at a visitor center, a playground/park and on the Mississippi River.    It won’t be the last time we see the Mississippi, but on this trip – it is our first time.   A portion of the river has been dammed here creating Lake Bemidji.   On our trip we are collecting rocks from various states for our granddaughters Rylee and Elizabeth.  Brian picked up rocks from the Mississippi River for the girls.

Heading out for Duluth, MN – our next stop.

Our first stop in Duluth is the Maritime Museum located on Lake Superior.    WOW WOW WOW – the lake is HUGE.   You hear about the Great Lakes – but once you see it, it makes more sense.

The Maritime Museum relates the history / development of Duluth, MN as a major shipping port on Lake Superior.  It shared the story of ships lost on Lake Superior as well as the development and improvement of Superior Bay.   The museum is located in an area known as Canal Park – an area that used to be a large commercial area, that the city has rebuilt, updated, upgraded and made an area where you can come and have a nice meal, walk in safety around the Lake, lots of hotels and more.  A great tourist area.

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Our RV site is located at Lakehead Boat Dock – during the summer the boat yard turns a portion of their parking into RV sites.   They have electric & water, some sites have sewer.   It doesn’t get better than this – parked with a view of the bay, watching ships and come and go, and walking distance to great restaurants.

Tamara is feeling much better – the last surgery was officially 3 weeks ago.   She’s walking a lot, still doesn’t like stairs or steep climbs – but she didn’t like those before surgery – so doing well.  A minor procedure will need to be done in the next 6-12 weeks to take out the stent left in to deal with the bile duct drainage.

We walked across the bridge this evening and went to Grandma’s Restaurant for dinner.   Time for some fish – Brian had the cod fish & chips, and Tamara had the trout.  Dinner was excellent, and the walk back to the RV was very relaxing.

June 20, 2017:

HAPPY 1ST DAY OF SUMMER!

A full day in Duluth, MN is in store for us today.  After breakfast we headed out – walking about 1 mile (give or take) from where our RV is parked to the Depot Museum.   First thing tour day is a 90 minute train trip along Lake Superior.   Beautiful views, lots of green spaces and some old and new homes were what was in store for us.

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We enjoyed the train ride, and once returning to the Depot – it was time to take in the museum.    The museum building was the train depot originally located in Duluth, MN.   The ground floor held 7 tracks for trains – several rebuilt trains, many turned into museums.  One of the rebuilt trains was a replica of the Lincoln Train – the train that took the body of Lincoln from Washington, DC to Illinois after his death.  One of the trains were converted to show a dining car with many different styles of china used on the various trains.

The rest of the museum was well laid out, and good information was shared.

Next stop – the local trolley.    From the Depot we took the trolley to Fitger’s a local brewery/restaurant recommended by a friend of Brian’s Mary Josephine Karsten.   The food was good – we tried Poulton – French fries, cheese curds and savory gravy.   We added shredded pork and voila, this was an excellent dinner.    Brian had fish and chips and a beer.

Back on the trolley to head down to Canal Park so that we can walk back across the bridge and to the RV Park.   After getting off the trolley we got some ice cream and walked back to the RV to spend a quiet evening on the boat dock.

June 21, 2017:

We woke up in Duluth, MN.    Time to get back on the road – heading through Wisconsin directly to Michigan.   As we entered into Michigan it was time for a time change from CST to EST — really Eastern Standard Time?

We decided to stay at a State Park tonight – found the FJ McClain, Michigan State Park.   From our RV we could see over a small knoll Lake Superior.   Brian fired up the fire pit and we cooked BBQ chicken and S’Mores for dinner tonite.

June 22, 2017:

Woke up at the FJ McClain, Michigan State Park – we slept in to 8 a.m. had breakfast then off on our adventures.

First stop was the Lakeview Cemetery in Calumet, MI.   This is the last resting spot of the Gipp Family – George Gipp is the infamous Gipper.  A young man attending Notre Dame and an outstanding football player who died while still in college.   Knute Rockne’s famous Let’s Win one for the Gipper was in memorial of player George Gipp.

Next stop in Calumet – this is a true company town.  Originally built to support the mining operations of the C & H Mine in Calumet.    Many of the old buildings in town are in the process of being saved through a partnership with the Federal Government under the Keweenaw National Historic Park.   The mine closed in the late 1960’s, and many of the miners & their families moved on.  Many actually moved to Flint, MI to switch from mining to building cars.   Because of the exodus, buildings were just left – houses as well as commercial.  There really weren’t any buyers.  In 1989 the government partnership began and buildings were taken over, some restored, some destroyed as they were too far gone.  Between the end of the mine and 1989 approx 20% of the commercial buildings were lost due to neglect, but many more have been salvaged and restored.     This site tells the tale of how this community was formed in partnership with the C & H Copper Mining Co.

The mine owned much of the town as either the Landlord, builder, financier or board member of local community groups, ie: YMCA, etc.

Walking around downtown we found the Michigan House Cafe & Red Jacket Brewing Company.   This restaurant/hotel was originally built in 1896, torn down in 1906 and rebuilt at that time bigger and better.   Based upon stories shared through their interviews with locals – they’ve been serving French Onion Soup since at least the 1920’s – and Tamara had that and it was good.     It was a very cool place, lots of history in the dining room.

On the road again – heading further East, a stop in Munising, MI to see the Munising Falls.  We’re heading onward again – out here in the Upper Peninsula of MI towns, amenities are few and far between.  We did find a restaurant – almost literally in the midst of nothing.   The Triangle Restaurant is located at the junction of 2 highways.  We had a very nice meal, then off down the road to Newberry, MI.  We had found online an RV Park to stay.

June 23, 2017:

We woke up in Newberry, MI at a former KOA now Good Sam RV Park.   The staff here are very friendly, and the space was excellent.

We headed out toward Whitefish Point, MI.  At Whitefish is the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum – very interesting museum.   So many ships have lost their life on the Great Lakes.   We spent a few hours there.

Off to Sault Ste. Marie – there are locks here helping ships move from the lower Huron Lake to Lake Superior.     We were on the Michigan side – across the river you can see the Canadian side – both cities are the same name.

In Sault Ste. Marie we visited the Tower of History and the Valley Camp.      The Catholic Parish in Sault Ste. Marie, MI in the 1960’s wanted to build a new facility – as part of this facility they built a tower of approx. 210’.   The architect for the tower was trying to convey the 3 crosses on Calvary the day Christ was killed.   The approximation of the towers is subtle, but the view was amazing.   We tried to get some good photos.

Valley Camp is a large barge permanently parked at its own dock.   The ship has been converted to a museum about shipping on the Great Lakes.  Lots of interesting stories, and great visuals about how from Indians gathering in this area, to how the ships evolved over the years/decades bringing in supplies and taking out minerals, wood and other items from the Great Lakes to the markets of the East.

Found a great restaurant called Lockview Restaurant – it’s been a local restaurant for several decades and has evolved from a small restaurant on the river to its current size – we sat on the 2nd floor and had a great view of a barge coming from Huron to Lake Superior through the locks. It was amazing to watch the barge go from low in the water to almost looking like it was going to be raised so high it was going to be above the locks.   There is an approx. 9’ drop from Superior to Huron so the need for a lock is a huge necessity to facilitate shipping between the lakes.

June 24, 2017:

We woke up in St. Ignace/Mackinac Island KOA in St. Ignace, MI.    Last night we went to 3 campgrounds before we found a site.   Turns out this entire past week – beginning last weekend going through this weekend there is a car show in St. Ignace.  It has grown so big that they had to expand to 2 weekends.  Last weekend were the classic cars – this weekend are the muscle cars.

It was our intention today to visit the local museum, but access was blocked due to the carshow, so we decided to move on to Mackinaw City, MI.   Before heading out we visited the Father Marquette memorial and Bridgeview Park.

Father Marquette was a missionary from France in the 1600’s.  Besides being a dedicated missionary he was also an explorer.  He was the first European to travel down the Mississippi River and to map it.

Between St. Ignace and Mackinaw City is a 5 mile strait separating Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.   In the 1950’s funds were put together to build a suspension bridge connecting these two cities.    Got a great little history story about the development of the bridge at Bridgeview Park before we took the 5 mile drive across the toll bridge.

Brian did the driving as Tamara has a little fear of heights, let alone driving in close traffic on a 4 lane bridge – 2 lanes one way 2 the other.  The cost to cross the bridge for an RV is $5/axle-for us $10.

Ended up in Mackinaw City and found a place for lunch.  We had lunch at Audie’s, another local restaurant that has been here for several decades.   We had a good lunch before heading out to our next museum.

Camp Michillinac is an old French Fort that is slowly since the 1950’s being restored to its former glory.  The fort in the late 1700’s was awarded from France to Britain after the 7 years war.  The British were not well received by the local Indian populations, as they had great trade relationships with the French, that was not reciprocated by the British initially.   The fort was actually captured by the Indians at one time, and eventually due to the American Revolution the fort was relocated from the mainland to Mackinac Island.  Many of the buildings were physically moved – once everything that was to be moved was removed, the remainder of the fort was burnt to the ground.   Archaeologists beginning in approx. 1957 began excavation of the fort, and every year from June to August Archaeologists working for the State of Michigan come in to do more excavating.   As buildings are dug out and identified, the buildings are being rebuilt and re-enactments are done to show the visitors what life was like for the French as well as the British – more slanted towards the British occupation.

June 25, 2017:

Happy Sunday – woke up in Mackinaw City at the KOA We decided to take a rest day – both of us needed clean laundry.   Did some package prep as we have several items to ship to the West Coast, and other business items.  Ready to go for tomorrow a trip to the Post Office before our excursion.

Today was a REST day.

June 26, 2017:

Woke up in Mackinaw City at the KOA – RAINING.

We decided to just stick around the RV and have a movie day, and enjoy the rain beating on the roof.

June 27, 2017:

Beautiful morning in Mackinaw City – we’re going to the island today.

We headed up to the KOA Office and they called the shuttle to take us to the boat slip – the shuttle lady was so nice she agreed to drop us in town so we could mail our packages at the post office.   From the post office we walked to the ferry docks to take our ferry from mainland to island.

We took the Star Line Ferry from mainland to Mackinac Island.  A great trip across the water – once on the island we did some walking along the marina before we took a carriage ride around the island.  We ended the carriage ride at Fort Mackinac – this is where Fort Michillicamp was moved from the mainland when the British decided that they did not have a strategic advantage on the mainland, and felt they were better off on the island.    This fort was later held by the Americans, and promptly lost during the War of 1812 to the British due to a brilliant sneak attack across the island by the British – the fort was seized with no casualties.

We had a nice dinner in town at the Seabiscuit Cafe, and made sure we picked up the world famous fudge of Mackinac Island before taking the ferry back to the mainland.  Unfortunately by the end of the day both our phones had died so we were unable to take pictures as we went under the Mackinaw Bridge on the way back to the ferry dock.

June 28, 2017:

Woke up for our last day in Mackinac City – got ourselves unhooked, and everything back in place to get back on the road.

Our first stop today is The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.   It’s located right next to Fort Michillinac.  This old lighthouse has been preserved and restored to serve as both a museum for the lighthouse itself as well as a small maritime history museum.

We had a chance to go to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the view of the bay and where the 2 lakes – Erie & Huron merge together.  Afterwards we went down to the edge of Lake Erie and got our Lake Erie rocks for the granddaughters.

Now back on the road – we have a long drive ahead of us to Muskegon, MI.  We arrived late afternoon and found the local Walmart that would allow us to spend the night in their parking lot.   Muskegon has 2 Walmart’s in distinctly different parts of town.   Once parked, and shopping completed, we walked over to Russ’ Restaurant in the same parking lot.  A unique dining experience – in order to place your food order, you had to pick up the phone and call in the order, a server brought out the food, and we were on our own to refill our own water.

After eating we realized the restaurant had 2 separate sides – one for full service and then the side we were on.  Dinner was tasty and we enjoyed ourselves.  Tonight it rained cats and dogs, but the sound of rain on an aluminum roof is very tranquil.

June 29, 2017:

Today is an odd day – we are separating for the day.     Brian dropped off Tamara at Salon 297 where she is taking advantage of a day at the spa.  Massage, facial, pedicure, manicure and hair style.   A six hour day, but is it long enough for Brian to see everything he wants to see?

Brian’s first stop is the LST393.  LST stand for Landing Ship Tanks. These ships were a key to D-Day. They can carry 23 Sherman Tanks. LST393 is one of 2 surviving LSTs. There were over 1000 built. 393 survived because it was used to transport cars from Detroit to Milwaukee. The Great Lakes were kind to her. The other LST is located in Evansville were 393 was built. The ships shallow draft allowed to be used for landing on beaches. This also allowed them to be built along the Mississippi River System. 393 was also used in the landings in North Africa and Sicily. Brian intends on seeing the other in Evansville next year. 393 had lots of displays, many focusing on veterans from Michigan. A nice touch would have been a Sherman on board. They are the most common tank from WWII but they aren’t a dime a dozen.

The next stop were the homes of Charles Hackley & Thomas Hume, friends who lived next to each other – Hackley Hume Historical Site.  Charles Hackley was an important man to Muskegon. He came to the area to build roads. He stayed and got into lumber. In a short amount of time he had a very successful lumberman. In 1881 his partner died. He was very impressed with his bookkeeper, Thomas Hume, and offered a partnerships to him. They became great friends. They built houses next to each and vacationed together. The lumber boom in Michigan was short lived lasting from the 1860’s to the mid 1890’s. Hume in this short amount of time became a millionaire. They diversified into many different fields (transportation, shipping, industry, banking, and manufacturing). Their houses were built between 1887 and 1889. Hackley home is over the top costing $50k. Hume had several children so his house was more live able than opulent and only cost $25k. Hume’s home was added onto over the years. The Hackley’s died in 1905 and gave away most of his $12 million to the city of Muskegon. Hume added onto his home over the years. A daughter ended up with the house and stayed until her death. When Hume died he was worth over $60 million and also gave much to the city.  Hackley’s home is restored to 1895. It is amazing the detailed wood work that was done. Hume’s home is restored to 1920’s era and is very different but also a very beautiful building.

The USS Silversides is a Gato class submarine built in 1940. Submarines are one of the few military items that the US entered WWII with a good number and mostly modern. US torpedoes were a BIG problem but the Gato class were good subs. 77 were built, 20 lost in the war and 6 still survive. The USS Silversides still has at least one functioning engine they start for special occasions. The sub has been restored to its WWII specifications. Several of the others were altered for the cold war as sentry subs. The tour guide had served on post WWII diesel and nuclear subs. He had some FANTASTIC stories. The museum was terrific! Great displays of the Silverside and other subs. A must see if you are a WWII buff!

Once we got back together, it was time to drive to the State Capitol, Lansing, MI.   We stayed at the Cracker Barrel in Lansing.

June 30, 2017:

We woke up today in Lansing, MI.  Besides housing the state capitol, Lansing is where R.E. Olds (Oldsmobile) got his start in the car business.

We headed for the cemetery to visit the RE Olds Gravesite.

The next stop was where the old Oldsmobile plant used to be.  We visited the placque.

Brian wanted to visit the RE Olds Transportation Museum ……..

Our next stop was the Michigan State Capitol – such a beautiful old building, we decided to take the tour.

Next we started heading towards Indiana where we went to visit the Gilmore Auto Museum in Hickory Corners, MI.  We spent an enjoyable 3 hours here visiting many different styles of cars, in many different styles of buildings over about 90 acres of land.

We then drove to Shipshewana, IN.  We found a great little campground on the lake where we could stay for the next two days and recover from the fast pace of the last few days.

 

 

April 2017

April 24, 2017:

Up early, then off to run a bunch of last minute errands including a stop at Harbor Freight for some storage solutions, we found a cargo net and adjustable tool that would help us keep things from moving around in the RV.  Dropped off all the cable boxes at Spectrum, and a quick trip to Quartz Hill Water District to update our mailing address – what’s great both utilities have a credit.

One last check of the back garage to make sure that the power washing was sufficient, then it was ok what still needs to be done inside? By 2 pm we had basically thrown everything needing to go in the RV in the RV – very little was where it belonged, but hey it was in the RV.   Brian decided to fill the RV water tank – we found out 40 gallons fills quickly, and YES it is possible to overfill the water tank??  Say what?   We got a shower and by 2 pm we were on the road to Sacramento, CA.    My parents live in Sacramento – did I mention we’d gotten a call on Friday the 22nd that my dad was in the hospital?  Needless to say it was a crazy last weekend.  My husband drove the RV and I drove the Subaru and we arrived in Sacramento at around 9 pm.  My dad was now home from the hospital, glad to be home, but still not 100%.

Did I mention that the house has been on the market during all this craziness since March?   Crazy – we learned our lesson, it was not the right thing to do, as a REALTOR, I know better, all I wanted was to get the house sold, hopefully before we moved, that hasn’t happened yet.   Since we left, it’s been shown several times I hope someone likes what they see now that the house is cleaned and ready for a buyer, and most of the yard work has been completed.

April 25, 2017:

This is re-packing and storage finding day.   My husband spent a lot of time taking things apart, opening up storage options, and making room for all the items just thrown into the RV.  After a lot of finagling, and finding a storage area I really did not think existed about 90% of everything has a new home.  The RV is now ready for travel, more finagling to occur later.

We spent a great day with my parents, and showed my dad all the fun stuff on my Subaru since he’s going to car-sit for us while we are gone.  He promises that the car will be driven once a week – gives new meaning to “it was driven by a little old lady to church once a week”.

April 26, 2017:

Day one of traveling in the RV – no reservations, just go.

We left Sacramento by 10 am going East on the I-80, up thru the Sierra’s across Donner Summit and thru Reno, NV.

We needed to make a quick stop at a K-Mart and found one in Sparks, NV (just outside of Reno).  I had some items to return and my husband really likes their Smart Sense Half and Half – ½ ice tea & ½ lemonade.  So we stocked up.

We had decided that based upon the several options of getting to Provo we’d make day one our first make it unusual driving day.  I-80 is well traveled, but there is also the I-50 aka America’s Loneliest Road.  We thought it would be fun to stay in Ely, NV.    This road comes by its name honestly.

We stayed in Ely NV at Prospector Gambling Hall and RV Park.   They had a restaurant inside and so dinner and breakfast were at the restaurant on the property.  We did not cook in the RV or shower yet here.

We broke our first item in the RV tonite – it was really windy, and when I opened the door to let my husband in the door was pulled out of my hand and the screen door hinge broke.

April 27, 2017:

We were off and running by 10 am from Ely, NV to Provo, UT.   There are only a few towns between Ely and Delta, UT.

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We entered Utah and were reminded by our phones – time change, we lost an hour.  We have a lot of people/places to visit while we are in the Provo area so we decided that a rental car would be in order for the next few days.

My husband dropped me off at Provo Airport – oh boy.   Turns out that they only provide rentals to passengers with reservations arriving at the airport by plane – there were 4 rental desks, and when I arrived one was occupied.  NO CARS available – fortunately the RV park was not too far away and Uber to the rescue.    Brian took the RV to the park and got us checked in, and I caught up to him later.

Tonite was the nite to figure out how to use the RV properly – or at least better.  I pulled out the Minnie Winnie manual and found out how to turn on the Hot Water Heater – needed to wash dishes, but also we wanted to possibly take a shower.   I cooked dinner in the Instant Pot – we’ll need to figure out how to use the stove/oven next.   When figuring out the hot water heater, we found the water pump switch as well, so realized that we probably needed that to keep the water running thru the RV.

It was cold this evening so use of the heater was also necessary – it quickly warmed up the unit, but interestingly enough, only the front part, not the sleeping area – will have to check in on that.  The unit got cold quickly after that as well – going to have to look into that as well.

COLD COLD COLD – 2 heavy blankets, and then a 3rd later in the evening – it was cold Thursday nite.

April 28, 2017:

Watching the local news this morning – SNOW north of here, and I think since we are camped close to the lake at Lakeside RV Campground in Provo, UT, near the Utah Lake, we won’t get any, but we should get some rain.  (Turns out we did see snow flurries periodically throut the day.)

Today our niece Rachael Andrade graduates from BYU Provo as a Certified Athletic Trainer (BS in Life Sciences).   In preparation for the ceremonies we had a fun family lunch at Pizza Pie Café in Provo, UT.  Tamara’s sister Mary Andrade and her husband Frank were there along with Racheal’s husband Jacob and his parents and grandparents.  It was a fun afternoon, lots of food and laughter.  Then it was off to the Warner Center on BYU campus for the graduation ceremonies – 900 + graduates later, it was time to take photos with our grad, and enjoy more time together.

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Rachael took us to the restaurant Costa Vida in Provo – it’s attached to the bowling alley, but the food was fresh, and very tasty.  More visiting – then it was time to break it up for the evening and back to the RV park for some sleep.

(House update:  We got word today (see photos) that the backyard had been graded and cleaned up, and the yard was finally one level.  One more thing completed, house is READY for the right buyer.)

April 29, 2017:

Today is visiting day – we decided to get McDonald’s as we drove to our first destination today – West Valley, UT.  We visited with our nephew-in-law Gabe and his wife Heather and their new baby Annelise, took them some gifts from grandma and grandpa Macy and Tamara got to hold the baby for a while.

Then it was off to Springville for lunch with longtime friends Carlyle and Karylee Workman – we had a great lunch at Strap Tank Brewing Company – such a fun time catching up and enjoying old friends.

Then back to the RV to do some more housekeeping items – got the black/grey line hooked up, so now the tank just empties into the allotted hole in the ground.

Now it’s time for some more old friends – David Brown and his family.   Approx 12 years ago David was a missionary in the Quartz Hill Ward in Quartz Hill, CA.  He served almost 12 months in the ward and we became friends.   They’ve visited us and now that they are living in Orem while David is going to Law School at BYU.  David’s wife Kecia is a school teacher, and they have 4 children.  Each has their own personality – we had dinner then it was time for games and socializing.  We had a fabulous time, and really appreciated their hospitality.

April 30, 2017:

Sunday – a day of rest, right?   Could not find the matches so it was breakfast in the Instant Pot before church.  We attended the Lakeside 2nd Ward – Provo West Stake and it was their Fast Sunday – they have Stake Conference next week.

After church it was time to do some relaxing – right?  Nope time to really get better organized.   Everything in the storage area was reviewed, rearranged, better fit, more items in it and we FOUND the matches.   Dinner is cooking in the crockpot waiting for our guests – Rachael & Jacob Knudson.

Dinner was great – but game night after was even better.  We had a great time playing Sequence and Telestrations. Some of us don’t draw well – but it was a blast.

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Rachael & Jacob Knudson – BYU Graduate

Our time in Provo is coming to an end – we didn’t do the sightseeing thing this trip, but we had great visits with everyone we took the time to see.

Preparing to Move

Preparing to move SUCKS.  Just Saying.

We have a unique set of circumstances ~ my husband moved into his home in Nov 1997 and I joined him in Jan 1998.    When we moved in together our children were bot 8 getting ready to turn 9 in 1998.   The house is a 3 BD 2 BA approx. 1500 sf on almost ½ acre with an attached 2 car garage and detached 3 car garage located at the rear of the property.

Since about 2001 we’ve been in the process of remodeling our 1970’s era home into a more modern feel.   New floors thruout, paint, scraped the ceilings, remodeled 2 bathrooms and the kitchen.   My husband enjoys working on cars, and has a heart of gold.  He had 2 friends who needed to have 3 cars stored “temporarily” until such time as they had another place of their own to move the cars.   That’s 2 Camaro’s and a Corvair. In Jan 2017 we notified the owner’s that we were moving in March 2017 – we didn’t actually get to the point of moving until April 2017.   The cars continued to hang out – no movement.   Now I will admit part of this was our problem – in the driveway blocking the backyard from the front yard were 2 non-opp vehichles of our own.   One was a Metropolitan with no engine that in the beginning was moving with us, and would have to go into storage – that ended up changing, but it was a vehicle blocking the driveway.

CORVAIR

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METROPOLITAN

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The second vehicle was a huge (IMHO) Oldsmobile – this vehicle had been previously gifted by my husband to his son’s ½ brother, Matt.    Since January Matt had been coming over 1-2 times per week to work on getting the car together enough to get it driven off the property and to his home.  Well – this was a process not really going very well – for whatever reason the engine was frozen and no matter what they did the engine would NOT turn over.   Eventually in April in desperation a tow truck was required to get it moved off the property.

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In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s there had been some heavy flooding in the Quartz Hill / Antelope Valley and our backyard was a victim of several new layers of silt/dirt which in turn raised our backyard almost a foot.   This caused issues with the vehicles parked in the backyard – they are now buried up to their bottoms or pretty high on the tires in dirt/silt, making it near impossible to move them from the yard to the driveway.   We were fortunate that our neighbor across the way was having some rear yard work done, and a new driveway poured – he had found a local gentleman Harold with Hak-Away Hauling who had a large heavy duty tractor and a really great personality.  We entered into a contract with him wherein he would take another car parked in our yard – a Dodge Shadow, all the misc engines, scrap metal and oh yes the Metropolitan in trade as part of his payment to dig out the backyard.  He was kind enough to come over and help us get my husband’s El Camino out of the back garage and get it pulled to the driveway and loosened up the Camaro’s to make them easier to move out.

As you can see – we had a few vehicles needing relocation.   Much of this, was just a really frustrating saga that made me think we were never leaving.   There was more – but it seemed that no matter how much we got done, there was always more to be done.

Eventually at the 11th hour the Camaro’s were picked up by the owner, the Metropolitan was sold, the El Camino was moved to the front of the house and put on a trailer and moved to Oregon, the Corvair made it to the front of the house where it could eventually be moved, and my husband’s pickup was gifted to his son.    NOW we had to deal with the detached garage and finish loading the new RV, and oh yes 3 trips to Oregon in a used U-Haul my husband and purchased to accommodate the multiple trips that actually became 5 moving trips to get our personal belongings moved to Oregon (3 trips) an El Camino moved to Oregon and a quick trip to move our son in San Diego from his apartment to a new rental situation.

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Our niece Rachael is set to graduate from college – BYU Provo – on Friday April 28, 2017.   We made this our target destination, then backed out how much time we needed in order to get to Provo, UT.   It seemed daily there was that 1 more project that needed to be completed before we could move – but we were determined to be on the road one way or another on Monday April 24.   On Sunday April 23rd we were power washing the back garage – it was finished, we finalized the front garage, and we made a location in the front garage for the “rest” of the items still needing to go in the RV.  That pile became much higher than it seemed inside when it was spread across several locations.

 

May 2017

 

May 1, 2017 –

Woke up in Provo, UT RV Park – Lakeside RV Park – we needed to head over to Camping World today and see about getting a front bike hitch for the RV, so break down the site.

Today Tamara learned how to unhook everything, but watched Brian actually disconnect the grey/black hose and clean it out (YICK).  Disconnected the water, electric & cable.  We forgot to make sure that the lock was on the door to the shower – so it decided to swing open while we were on our travels today.   Still trying to figure out a place for everything, and everything in its place BEFORE we leave, but that will happen I’m sure.

Traveled to Camping World in 2 vehicles – Brian in the RV and Tamara in the rental.  Camping World was in Draper, UT, approx. 30 minutes down the road, not too long of a drive.   Of course – they did not have the item we needed for the bike, but we were able to get a water filter that fits on the hose line so Brian doesn’t have to taste the city water.

After that it was off to Hertz – drop off the rental, then back to Walmart AGAIN.  Needed some groceries and a surge protector so that we can set up the TV, Kody Box and the Hard Drive – everything needs a plug.   Then it was off lunch with a friend from Tamara’s days growing up in Santa Cruz, CA.  Amy Hodap Olson met us at Café Zupas in Orem, UT.  We had a great lunch and chat – almost 2 ½ hours of catching up on our families, and what we’ve been doing for 25 years.   It’s amazing the things that mean something to someone else.

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Amy shared in 1995 at the 10 year High School Reunion for Harbor High, Santa Cruz, CA Tamara had given a prayer at the event, that meant a lot to her, and she still thought of that, also the times they shared in Primary and Young Women’s groups in the Santa Cruz 1st Ward, Santa Cruz Stake.  There were only 4 girls in that class, and so she remembered how much fun we had.

Tamara shared with Amy that in 1985 at the Senior Art Show/Sale Amy had a painting – a large one of a purple castle in the sky.   In every home/apartment she’s ever lived in, that painting has hung as a reminder of Amy and those high school years.  Tamara also shared about how much she enjoyed going to Amy’s house on Sundays between Sunday School and Sacrament and enjoying Amy’s mom’s cooking.  Yummy.

Next it was off to get gas – fuel for the vehicle & propane for the RV.  Need the Propane if we want a hot shower tomorrow.

So the Squirrel Tour continues – we’re now heading through Provo Canyon towards Duchesne, Altamont and Vernal, UT.

We took some great photos as we drove through Provo Canyon including the photos of Bridal Veil Falls and other great scenery.   We hope you like them.

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We arrived in Altamont, UT around 4 pm and drove through – now you might ask why, but this is where Tamara lived as a child from 1974-1975.  The photos we’re including include a photo of the old movie theater, the new elementary school that must have replaced the school that was there in 1974, and the church building.  On 2/2/1975 Tamara was baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in this building, and then confirmed a member on 2/3/1975.  She has fond memories of this little wide spot in the road, though the time spent there was short, and a very long time ago.

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Later our drive continued thru Roosvelt to Vernal, UT where we are now spending the nite at the Dinosaurland KOA before we go dinosaur hunting at Dinosaur National Monument tomorrow.   Prior to setting up for the evening we tried out a quaint restaurant called Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers – very yummy, and definitely a great treat this evening.

May 2, 2017:

We found Dinosaurland KOA a very nice and relaxing place – not too many people, they have laundry facilities, and we needed to take care of a few housekeeping items.

We spent the day doing laundry, changing the sheets (boring I know) – but the flannel sheets are definitely a necessity right now, it’s still cold at nite – Brian figured out how the cable hookups worked and set up the Koby box and hard drive of movies that we have in lieu of carrying multiple videos with us.

Something we found out with the cable – it’s all well and good for the park to provide access to cable, and to attach the cable to the RV but if you don’t turn on the switch inside it won’t work.

Brian also spent many hours online checking out things to see in Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas as we plan for the future drives over the month of May.

Made dinner – leftovers from Sunday – pot roast in gravy with carrots, potatoes and a green salad.  Just a much needed day of rest.

May 3, 2017:

After getting up and making breakfast in the RV, we packed it up and headed out to see the Dinosaurs.   We went to the Dinosaur National Monument, visited the Dinosaur Visitor’s Center and the Quarry.   Lots of cool things at the Quarry – you can see where they’ve dug out many bones, partial and full skeletons from the mountains.   It was a great reminder of a trip Tamara took with her parents when she was a child.

Just a side note – earlier this year Tamara had read a blog about how important when traveling across country a National Parks Pass would come in handy.  The cost to enter Dinosaur National Park was $20 except our pass got us in for FREE.  We only need 3 more entries to have paid for the pass, and its good for a year.

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We took lots of photos before heading out to Dinosaur, Colorado, where the other entrance to Dinosaur National Park was.  We took the Harpers Corner Road off I-40 which took us off into a place where we saw only 1-2 cars for over 2 hours.  Lunch was a picnic overlooking a beautiful canyon enjoying nature’s beauty.

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After returning to the I-40 we took the U.S. 64 to Rangely, CO where Brian was planning to visit the car museum BUT it’s closed on Weds – only open Thursday to Sunday.   It was time to keep pushing South towards the I-70 – desolate road does not begin to describe some of the scenery.   But something really cool was we ended up at the top of a mountain at an altitude of approx. 8200’.   The view was breathtaking, but at that point Tamara drove up – Brian was driving down.   We hit the I-70 and started East towards Grand Junction, CO.  Before getting to Grand Junction we stopped in Fruita, CO and ended up having dinner at Dragon Treasure Chinese Restaurant before meandering over to Monument RV Resort (a Good Sam Park).

Recently we’ve had good luck just showing up to the RV Park or calling out by 1 hour to get in as the parks up to now have been lightly populated.   Not so with Monument RV Resort – the place is full and summer weather is here.  The high in Fruita today is 81 degrees and the low tonite is supposed to be 44 degrees.  It should be a nice stay here.

May 4, 2017:

Woke up in Fruita today.  Had breakfast at a Gas Station Diner – Starvin’ Arvin’s – it was very good, Brian had the Biscuits & Gravy and Tamara had poached eggs and bacon.  Good price and good food.

After breakfast and filling up the RV – we headed off to the Dinosaur Journey part of the Museums of Western Colorado.  What a great museum, very interactive for children and lots of great displays.  Learned a lot about the local dinosaur culture before we headed off East on the I-70.

Stopped in Glenwood Springs, CO to visit the location famed to be the final resting site for Doc Holliday.  You park at the bottom of the hill, then walk a ½ mile path to the top of the mountain to find the cemetary – ½ mile doesn’t seem far except when its approx. a hike of 350’, the altimeter read almost at the top of the hill of 9800’.   Had a little difficulty breathing, but we made it to the top and Brian found the site of Doc Holliday with his grave marker.

Lots of construction going on in Glenwood Springs – we parked in old town and walked over to a very cool restaurant called The Lost Cajun Restaurant (Beignets & Gumbo).  Had a great lunch of catfish and beignets, then it was off again.

Next part of the drive was through beautiful country along the White River to the US-24 East, then up and over the mountains and past the Continental Divide to Leadville, CO.

For those who don’t know this is where Molly met her JJ (The Unsinkable Molly Brown). A very quaint town, looking forward to wandering the town tomorrow.  We spent the night in a rather old RV Park off the main drive, though old, it served us well with full hookups.

May 5, 2017:

It’s time to check out Leadville, CO.   There were several things we wanted to see, but only the Leadville Museum of Mines was open.   We spent a few hours wandering the old high school that has been refurbished to house this interesting museum.   Lots of rocks, minerals and mining equipment.  It is amazing how much effort it took to mine just a little gold, silver, etc., and how through innovation, desperation man was able to change how mining was done to how things are done today.

In some areas of the world you’ll still find the miner hunkered down by a stream with a pan, sloshing water and sand to find that nugget, and in other places huge jets of water are directed against the walls of mountains to get the dirt loose, and moving down to sluice boxes or other types of mining equipment to extract the gold, silver, etc from the ground.

For many years there was a community just down the road called Climax – the mine was called Climax, the town was called Climax.   In the 1950’s & 1960’s it was touted as one of the best places to live in the U.S.  The mine was very active, and making a fortune for the owners – they mined Molybdenum ore.   This ore was a necessary part of the steel hardening process, and WW II saw a huge increase in the need for this ore in the steel making process.   In the mid-1980’s the town’s homes were literally trucked over to Leadville, CO where a new community was established for the miners and their families, and a few years later the mine was closed down.  The mine reopened in 2012 for new shipments of the Molybdenum.

As we headed out of Leadville, CO and down the Rockies we found a rather unique display – Leadville Boom Days rocks – they had dates and lots of holes – Brian thinks that these are drill holes, so possibly some sort of mining celebration.  Rather a cool thing on the side of the road.

We headed out of Leadville via the 24 (Top of the Rockies National Scenic and Historic Byway).   Very beautiful scenery the entire drive.   We caught back up with the U.S. 50 just outside of Canon City, CO.  Here we visited Royal Gorge Bridge & Park.   Brian walked out on the bridge as well as taking the gondola.  The bridge sits approx. 900’above the Arkansas River.

After the gorge it was off to visit more dinosaurs at The Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience – we had a great tour guide who must be in late 60’s early 70’s.  As a girl her passion was looking for fossils, and she spent a good part of her adult life hanging with people who did just that for a living and was able to bring some extra information to her tour.   It made it very personal, and we found out things we didn’t know before, or never thought of before.  In the Dinosaur Experience are several skeletons of dinosaurs we had never even heard of before.   The coolest part though, was that even though the skeletons inside were made from casts, and weren’t the original bones BUT the original bones came from Canon City, CO area.   In the late 1800’s as several farmers were preparing their fields for the growing season they kept digging up dinosaur bones – at first they were unsure what they were, but they took them to the town doc who suspected that they were in fact dinosaur bones.   The farmers sold the bones lock stock and barrel to archaeologists at the Smithsonian and the bones were crated up and shipped East.   But they kept finding more bones, and there are finds in the area to this day.

We were so enthralled in the stories we didn’t take photos – but please check out their website.  Planning a trip to Colorado – the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park and Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience are within 5 miles of each other and there is plenty for the kids to do.   We highly recommend these two attractions.

Now it was time to head East on U.S. 50 to Pueblo for our next stop – Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum.  Through our membership in Harvest Hosts, a camping club, we were allowed to park overnite in their parking lot – our first boondocking opportunity.

Before hunkering down for the evening we had dinner in Pueblo at Mi Ranchito and en route to the airport we found a car show – Brian had a great evening.

May 6, 2017:

Woke up to a beautiful day – time for some shorts.   Brian made breakfast, and they left to explore the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum.  The Weisbrod Aircraft Museum’s claim to fame is a B-29. Not many around. They had several other aircraft, all static per their agreement with the city of Pueblo. The museum purchased a Canon City residents Spitfire project and were finishing it.  Tamara did some housekeeping chores, and upon Brian’s return it was off to see more interesting stuff in Colorado.

Junkrassic Park in Cheraw, CO was our first stop.   The owner enjoys welding – he has made quite a few yard sculptures.   What was funny is that yard is posted as No Trespassing – but it was viewable from the yard.

Next stop was Bent’s Old Fort – this fort’s heyday was between 1833 and 1849.   This was not a military fort, it was a trading fort.   The owner’s of the fort traded with the Indians for buffalo skins as well as other animals, they traded with trappers and settler’s coming from the East towards better futures in the West.   The fort literally, during its time, sat at the edge of the United States.  The Arkansas River at that time served as the border with Texas/Mexico.

The fort burned to the ground in 1849, the ruins sat there undisturbed until the mid-1970’s when the National Park Service stepped in and rebuilt the fort on its former foundation to near exact measurements. These were provided by an army officer who was recuperating at the outpost from his journals.  It has now stood longer as a museum than it did as a working fort.  We highly recommend this museum.

No reservations this evening it was time to head towards Colorado Springs – found dinner at Applebee’s in Fountain, CO and a KOA just down the road.  We are staying at the KOA Colorado Springs – we’re doing 2 nights a day of rest and relaxation before heading off to Denver on Monday May 8th.

May 7, 2017:

Day of Rest and planning for the next few weeks of places to see.

May 8, 2017:

Packed it all up and headed out – First stop in Colorado Springs was to visit Herkimer, the World’s Largest Beetle.

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Now off to Denver – just an hour or so North on the I-25, we’re going to be here for a few days, so we decided to get a Rental Car to handle all the things we need to see while we are here.

Checked into Cherry Creek State Park Campground – what a cool place.  It’s an oasis in the metropolis.  The park itself had many different amenities including fishing, hiking, walking & horse trails, model airplane park, shooting range and of course camping.   We decided to try this place on a whim, and so had no reservations.   (Highly recommend that you make reservations here before going.)  Our first night we had full hookups but then had to move to dry camping site for rest of the week.

We got setup then made dinner, and checked out our stops for the week.   Tonight we experienced our first big rain storm of the trip – thunder, lightning and lots of rain.  Watching the local news we saw reports of hail throughout Denver, but where we were NO Hail.   The rain storm was awesome, and some of the thunder claps really rocked our little house on wheels.

May 9, 2017:

This morning – breakfast made by my hubby then get on the waiting list in the office to see if we could stay for another night in a full hookups before moving to a dry site.

Our first tourist stop – The Molly Brown House Museum in downtown Denver – within view of the Capital building.   So Molly Brown born Margaret Tobin was not as portrayed in the movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown by Debbie Reynolds, exactly.   In real life she was known only as Margaret or Maggie – never Molly.   For her time she was highly educated, and she went to Leadville, CO at the age of 18 at the urging of her brother.  Leaving Hannibal, MO and moving to Leadhill her brother felt would help her find a husband – she was going to become an Old Maid if she stayed in Missouri.    Her goal in life was to marry a rich man so she would be able to take care of her parents.  She did though in the beginning when she married John J Brown aka Johnny Brown who was a foreman for a mine – she married JJ for LOVE, and later he surprised everyone when his Little JJ Gold Mine hit it big.   She was now able to afford the lifestyle she wanted in order to take care of her parents, travel the world, and live and do what she pleased.   She was a suffragette, spoke out for mine safety for the workers, and tended to have differing political views from her husband.  In her time – she was ahead of her time which lead to a break down of her marriage with JJ.  They ended up separated for 10 years, but came together in the end – they are both buried in New York (Long Island) and their graves have been added to our New York must see list.

Lunch time – googled iconic Denver restaurants and ended up at The Buckhorn Exchange ~ the oldest restaurant in Denver, CO.  Their state liquor license number is 1. The restaurant is a museum in itself.   Lots of stuffed animals on the wall – from birds to moose, buffalo and all things in between.  The atmosphere was very welcoming, and the food was delicious.   Brian had the daily special – Bison Prime Rib which was so tender you could cut it with a butter knife, delicious.  Tamara had the Salmon – a little too blackened, but still tasty.

Now we had to rush back to Cherry Creek State Park to see if we could get a full hookups site – you get on the list at 8 a.m. and must be back at 1 pm. when they start calling names.  It’s a first come first serve opportunity – we were first on the list at 8 a.m. but because of our stop for lunch, we got back at 1:15 pm and all full hookup sites were gone – so we went with a dry camp spot to Thursday.   We got the RV moved, and then headed back out to explore more of Denver.

This afternoon it was off to the Clive Cussler Museum – he is one of my favorite authors, and I enjoy his Dirk Pitt and NUMA stories.   His museum houses approx. 75 classic vehicles, and if he owns the car that he features in one of his books, that car with the book it is in is on permanent display.  Some very rare cars such as Delahaye and Talbot along with 60’s American muscle but most of those are convertibles. If you enjoy classic cars – this is a great stop.

Now for date night – made it to a local theater to catch Guardians of the Galaxy – so glad we did it.  Make sure you stay for ALL the credits, great info at the end.

Back to Cherry Creek to sleep and prepare for tomorrow’s adventure.

May 10, 2017:

Today was a day to start with visiting friends from Lancaster, CA – Vicki Medina and her husband we met up with at The Egg & I in Centennial, CO.  Breakfast was excellent – but the visit was even better.  It was great to catch up with Vicki and to share a little of our upcoming tour.

Vickie Medina

After parting ways – Brian dropped Tamara off at the Denver Temple to have an opportunity to do some service, and Brian headed off to another car museum – Vehicle Vault in Parker, CO .Only about 30 cars but quite the mix. Vehicles ranged from a 1906 Ford Model T to a 2007 Mercedes slr722. Mostly customs but many stock cars. Great story of a one of a kind 1914 Mercedes that the mayor of Ulm Germany ordered. It was an open cockpit run about. He didn’t like being exposed to the elements so he requested a new body. The new body was a touring car. To save money Mercedes used the radiator, lights, bumpers and several other pieces. The mayor got his new car back along with the old body. He dumped the old body in a field. After some time he sold the car. The new owner heard about the original body and found it. He built or had built a new frame to place the restored original body on. The new frame was made of wood. He had all the shared parts reproduced in wood. The wood parts are amazing. The lighting at the Vehicle Vault really sucks so the pictures don’t do the work justice.

On Brian’s list of must sees was the Money Museum run by the American Numismatic Association.  What a cool place – you wouldn’t necessarily think that how money came to be would be interesting – but you’d be wrong.   From ancient Greeks, Romans, bartering and more, how much money has changed the way we do commerce in this world.   It is truly an interesting place.

While we had previously been in Colorado Springs we got several posts from friends on Facebook – you have to see Garden of the Gods, so this afternoon we headed south to Colorado Springs to take the drive through the Garden of the Gods – what a beautiful place.  The ground has many different hues, levels and ground covering.  A wonderful relaxing drive.

May 11, 2017:

EARLY morning – we want to see the Denver Mint, which means you have to be there at 7 a.m. in order to get your free ticket for one of 4 tours, a total of 200 people per day.    While Tamara headed off to downtown Denver to stand in line for the 9:30 a.m. tickets, Brian packed up the RV to get it out of Cherry Creek and over to a Walmart relatively close to downtown.    After getting tickets Tamara headed out to pickup Brian and bring him back to the US Mint.

In line at 9 a.m. to get into the U.S. Mint.  Upon arrival at the Mint, there was a sign in the window of the ticket office that all tickets were gone.  The tour of the Mint was well done, it flowed well, and it was very interesting to see the process on how coins are made.   A cool factoid:  The Denver Mint makes money each year on its coin processing.  They lose money making pennies and nickels – but they more than make up for it with dimes, quarters and half dollars.   They also make collector’s sets and make good money on the markup of these items.

Back to the car – thinking about lunch when we receive a text from Jodi Austin that they are in Colorado and would like to get together for lunch or dinner as they are planning to attend the movies to see Guardians of the Galaxy.  The Austin clan were in Colorado visiting family.  Their youngest daughter Rylee is our granddaughter, and Jodi & Larry Austin are her adoptive parents.    We are so grateful for the love that they have for Rylee, and how much she thrives in their care.

We met up with the Austin’s – Rylee, Jodi & Larry and Aunt Jenny at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar in Aurora, CO – what we didn’t know was that they hadn’t told Rylee that they were going to see Grandma and Grandpa – SURPRISE.  We had a great lunch with them, and we will have to try this place again if we run across it in our travels.  We didn’t go to the movies with them, but we did enjoy a nice meal.

Rylee visit

Now it was off to our new campgrounds high in the mountains above Denver – Central City KOA.  Though windy, the drive was beautiful, Brian drove the RV and Tamara followed in the rental car.   By the time we got settled, we were planning on laundry but Tamara was feeling very unwell – just curl up and die type of unwell, so she slept for a few hours while Brian continued to review the to visit list, and create more places to visit lists for other states.   Brian is taking his job as trip planner very seriously.

May 12, 2017:

Time to pack it up again – several stops on the way to Ft. Collins, CO.

First stop was Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, CO.  What an incredible view (including a view of the Coors Plant in Denver).   Lookout Mountain has been a go to place for over 100 years – people took their horses first, then buggies, then motorized vehicles & an inclinator at one time.   It is a beautiful memorial to Buffalo Bill Cody, and a great remembrance of his lasting touch on the American West.   We enjoyed the morning here before heading back down the mountain to return the rental car.

Returning the rental car – the gentleman who helped us was glad to see and hear that we had no hail damage as Hertz had a waiting list of over 900 people throughout Denver needing a rental car due to hail damage, so we figured that would be a quick turnover.

Now off towards Fort Collins – first stop the Antique Washing Machine Museum near Eaton, CO.   We found it – middle of nowhere, but realized that we were going to be unable to view it today.   We didn’t realize a reservation was required, and it was past the scheduled tour times.

Next stop – Greeley, CO – the Colorado Model Railroad Museum.   We arrived at approx. 3:30 pm and the museum closes at 4 pm.   They let us in for free and we did a quick tour – really cool place.  Their railroad set up is geared towards Oregon – Klamath/Willamette train yards.   So many little details – lakes with logs in them, rivers flowing along tracks, old side yards, the drive in and old cards, people placed throughout doing everyday things in everyday places.   We really enjoyed the trains and the people there running the museum – mostly older gentlemen – who were part of the experience.   They were friendly and welcoming and seemed gratified that we took time to come to see their passion.  A really fun stop.

Now off to Ft. Collins about a 40 minute drive to our KOA – Fort Collins/Poudre Canyon.   We’re here for 3 nights as we have friends to visit and places to see.   Got settled in and set up for the evening.

May 13, 2017:

Last night saw a post by a friend from Lancaster, CA checking into the movie theater in Greeley, CO.   Penny Vigil was in town on a layover from her long haul truck driving.   Tamara reached out to her via Facebook and setup dinner tonight.

Two more museums to see today – Centennial Village Museum in Greeley and Timberlane Farm Museum in Loveland.

Off to Timberlane Farm Museum – CLOSED.  We were very disappointed as we had looked forward to learning more about Colorado History as well as old West history.

Next – Centennial Village Museum in Greeley.   We actually are getting smarter, we decided to call ahead – turns out, they weren’t yet open either.   We’re finding that due to weather many things you’d think would be open aren’t open until Memorial Day or are open for limited times.

Because we were meeting up with Penny in Greeley we went ahead and did laundry in Ft. Collins.  While Tamara was watching the laundry Brian went and got his haircut, then we had lunch at a Himalayan restaurant and then off to Greeley.  We ended up at the mall a bit early so we did some walking around the mall and Tamara got her nails done – just a manicure.

We hooked up with Penny and went to Red Lobster and enjoyed catching up with each other.  We took her and Max (the dog) to where her rig was parked and we got the tour of her big rig – that’s an amazing small place well organized and setup.

Back to our KOA for the evening.

May 14, 2017:

Happy Mother’s Day.

Today we are heading off to visit a very old friend and her family from Lancaster, CA who’ve relocated to Loveland, CO.   We met up at church and attended church together before heading over to her home and having a wonderful dinner made by her girls and then game night.

All in all a relaxing day with the Hooper family.

May 15, 2017:

Up and out by 8 a.m. heading for Wyoming today.   We stopped at McDonald’s just outside of Cheyenne and had breakfast before heading into downtown Cheyenne to The Nelson Museum of the West.   Here we found great exhibits featuring craftsmanship of the Indians – beads, leather, tools and weapons.  We also found a great history of military uniforms through the decades, military weapons and life in the West.   The rooms were full of animals that had been taxidermied from around the world.   U.S., Canada, Russia and South Africa – so many animals.

At this point we needed to track down a Notary as we had to finish some paperwork for the escrow on our house.   Tamara googled Notary near where we were, and then walked to where the Notary should have been, but unfortunately their office was closed.   Walking back toward the R.V. we passed a bank and decided to see if they might have a Notary –and they did.  She was great, she took care of our Grant Deed and didn’t charge us, just told us to enjoy Cheyenne.

Next we were off to Holliday Park to visit the Big Boy train.  Big Boy Steam Engine 4004 was indeed a massive engine.    This engine was specially made to handle the rough mountains between Cheyenne and Ogden, UT.   It sits on its own rails in the corner of a beautiful park in Cheyenne.  Available for anyone to come and see at any time.   The sheer size of this behemoth cannot be described – we took some photos and tried help with the scale of it – it’s massive.

Next stop –more visits with friends.   Penny & Laurie Christensen are dear friends from Lancaster, CA and they moved about 2 weeks before we left and we were unable to see them before they headed out of Lancaster.  We took them to lunch and had a great visit with them catching up with them on their plans for their new home.    Laurie is a phenomenal artist – we own one of his paintings of Christ sitting on a hill above Jerusalem that hangs in honor in a very central spot in our home (when we have a home).    They’ve purchased a home in Cheyenne that he will be able to use as a gallery/studio and paint to his heart’s content once it is all up and running – give him a year he said.  They’re excited by this new adventure that puts them much closer to family than when they were in California.   We wish them lots of luck and great love.

From their home we walked the two blocks to the Wyoming State Capitol which is under renovation.  Scaffolding everywhere.   We got some good photos, but it would have been nice to see the whole thing.

We next drove to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum.  Brian stated that he had never seen so many buggies/wagons in one place.   The Frontier Days event in Cheyenne has been ongoing since 1897 – they’ve never missed a year.  It is the biggest Rodeo event in the US and attracts a hundred thousand people every year for this event.    The museum shared a lot of history about specifically the Frontier Days but in telling their story you learned about other interesting tidbits of the times.   They had to have at least 50 restored buggies / carts / chuck wagons / book mobile-wagon / fire trucks / hearse – ALL set up for being pulled by horses. If you’re into Rodeo’s you don’t want to miss an opportunity to attend the Frontier Days – this year held July 21-30, 2017.

Now it was time to find our campsite for the evening – Cheyenne KOA.   Tonight we learned two important things when setting up for the evening:

  1. Tamara needs to learn which water input is for filling the tanks and for just delivering water to the unit while it is parked. (She set up the water tonight and our neighbor came over to let us know that we were flooding water out from under our unit.)   Easy fix – switch inputs.
  2. Brian’s not sure what happened, but he put in the hose to the sewer hookup uncapped the cap on the unit and icky smelly water came rushing out at him – to his complete surprise. He was quick though, he got the hose hooked up quickly.   Fortunately Tamara’s flooding event quickly helped the area get cleaned up.   He’ll be looking at that a little more closely tomorrow.

This evening was spent updating our blog and planning the whirlwind tour of Wyoming to come in the next 4 days.   We’ll be focused on the Eastern portion of Wyoming before heading into the Eastern portion of Montana on Friday.    Hold onto your saddle partner – here we go.

Tonight we went to bed with the sound of rain, then hail on the roof – and lightning with loud thunder.

May 16, 2017:

We’re heading toward Douglas, WY today.  We were on the road at 7 am today – breakfast in the driver’s seat – granola bars, milk & bananas.

We’re heading West in order to go NE later today.   The Wyoming Territorial Prison opens at 8 a.m. in Laramie, WY – and we want to be there when it opens – we were there by 8:15 a.m.

This prison wasn’t used for very long, but it seems in the late 1800’s prison conditions were actually much better than the general living conditions of the time for many on the frontier.   They worked 10 hours per day – had 3 meals, had a bed at night and medical care.

Back on the road again – heading towards Fort Laramie, WY now.  We’re planning on visiting the actual Fort in Laramie as well as Fort Fetterman in Douglas, WY.

Fort Laramie is a mix of restored and unrestored buildings.  Initially the fort was built as a trading post but eventually evolved into a military fort.  Once the fort was decommissioned the buildings were sold for basically scrap.   Buyer’s took the building materials and moved them to other locations.

Turns out that Fort Fetterman in Douglas, WY is only open Memorial Day to Labor Day – so we are 2 weeks early.  We were fortunate that the caretaker was at the Fort preparing for the opening in 2 weeks.  Though the museum was currently empty and the buildings were closed, we walked around and drove up to the cemetary.  As we headed out – it was hailing.

We drove into Douglas, WY where it turns out that they have claimed themselves the official Jackalope city.  There were several oversized Jackalopes throughout town.

Tonight’s campground – KOA Douglas.   Easy check in – rain and hail had stopped, so camp was quickly set up, and dinner heated up.  Tamara had purchased a few days ago shredded pork so heating it up was quick, put in hot dog bun, add some carrots, tomatoes and avocados, voila, dinner.

May 17, 2017:

Another early morning – 7 a.m. we’re off again breakfast in the driver’s seat.

Today it was off to see Independence Rock and Martin’s Cove.    Independence Rock is a VERY large rock rising out of the prairie and served as a marker for the pioneers and travelers from coast to coast as to where they were and that they were on the right path.   At Independence Rock the travelers would carve their names and the date and where they were from.   These carvings are still visible to the naked eye.

A little further along was Martin’s Cove – this is a historical site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   In late 1852 the Martin Handcart Company was late leaving the East to head towards Salt Lake City, UT.  These were Mormon Pioneers heading from England to Salt Lake City, UT to join the saints in Zion.  We had a great tour by the Missionary’s from the church of the site.

Heading for Casper, WY to visit Fort Caspar.   This is a state historical site, and the fort has been restored in great detail.  We had to fight out way through the museum with a bunch of 3rd graders – we think we’ll see more of these field trips over the next few weeks until school is out.   At the fort we did the building self tour, and some cool things were seen.   One of these was the Mormon Ferry recreation – a few miles from the fort on the Platte River the earliest group of Pioneers led by Brigham Young crossed over the Mormon Trail setting up way stops along the way for the next group of Pioneers to come West.  President Young wanted to try and make it easier for the members of the church to get to the end and here near Fort Caspar a ferry was built to help with the last crossing of the Platte River.   10 men were left to run the ferry and help the pioneers continue to move forward – and they also charged other travelers a fee to cross the river.   They helped all travelers with their crossing for a fee, but they also had a blacksmith who could help with shoeing horses, issues with wagons, etc.  Eventually they built up trade opportunities to help people low on food or other supplies continue their progress West.

Next stop, The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center.   How many trails were there from the East to the West?  The 4 major trails are:   Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express.   Many legs of these trails overlapped, but all started in the East initially and ended somewhere in the West.   This museum was very informative, well laid out, and bonus – they had a special collection at the museum about Brigham Young and his trek opening the Mormon Trail that ended in Salt Lake City, UT.  There is even a display / video talking about the Martin Handcart Company.

When we were at Fort Caspar we asked for a recommendation for lunch – we ended up at J’s Pub for dinner where we found the food tasty and the atmosphere calming, as well as excellent WiFi service.

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Tonight’s stop – KOA Casper.

We hit 3,000 miles of our own miles in the RV on our travels today.

May 18, 2017

It’s raining cats and dogs – and then it turned into SNOW.  Cold sleeting snow.   The dilemma – go or stay?  Based upon weather reports, just a ½ hour to hour North no more snow, maybe a little rain.   So off we go – North towards Montana.

In Buffalo, WY we stopped at the Jim Gatchell Museum.  Very quaint little museum located in the old Library building built in 1909.   Jim Gatchell was a local pharmacist who opened his store in 1900.  He loved to collect items of historical significance to him, the community and to his friends the Indians.  It was a very pleasant morning.

From there we headed towards Sheridan, WY and Ft. Phil Kearny State Historic Site.    Phil Kearny was a US Army officer notable for his leadership in the Mexican-American War as well as the early years of the American Civil War.

All that now exists of this fort is a museum building and the ruins of the old fort.   From the fort we went up the mountain to the site of the Fetterman Massacre where there is a monument. At the time this was the largest massacre of white men by Indians – it happened 12-21-1866.   Captain Fetterman disobeyed his orders and the men he was leading were killed by Red Cloud and his Lakota, Cheyenne & Arapaho Indians.

Tonight we stayed at the KOA in Sheridan, WY.

May 19, 2017:

Today we are headed towards the Custer Battlefield.

Our first stop was the Custer Battlefield Museum – at first glance it seems to be the ultimate tourist trap, but once we found our way through all the touristy items we ended up in the Museum.  The cost is $7 and we found that the museum was very informative, and not knowing a lot about the Battle of Little/Big Horn it was a great introduction to the National Park we visited next.

We visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield, National Park.  With our National Park Pass we got in for free – the actual cost for entry in our RV would have been $20, so another great savings.

Once we entered the park we did a drive through the battlefield – most of the battlefield is now in private hands, but many of the areas where there were actual fallen men the grave markers are there though the men aren’t.  Most of the men were removed a year after the battle and either physically moved to cemeteries in the East or were placed in the new National Cemetery now located here at the Little Bighorn battlefield.   The whole experience was very moving, and the tribute that has been made to share with the world how this whole experience happened was truly inspired.

In the 1990’s the National Park Service has made an admirable effort to begin placing cemetery markers where the Indians fell as well.  There are significantly less fallen Indians than US Soldiers in this battle.

From here we headed towards Hardin, MT where we stayed at the Hardin KOA.

May 20, 2017:

Today’s agenda is a full one – lots of things to see, and a trip to Billings, MT.   Our first stop was the Big Horn County Museum – unfortunately it is closed on weekends and we were unable to visit.   Next stop the Western Heritage Center.    The best part of this Museum was truly the fact that they are trying to share History through memories and first and second hand telling of stories.  Their main exhibit now has to do with the Indians and the forced migration towards reservations, and how the Indians fought back.

Next stop is the Moss Mansion Museum.  P.B. Moss was an early resident of Billings, MT.  He came to Billings to seek his fortune and relocated his family from Paris, MO to allow for opportunities to expand his fortunes and business.  He became a highly prominent local business man with his hands in many businesses at the turn of the 20th century in Billings.

Just when you thought we were done – no, it was off to the State Park – Pictograph Caves.  This is an early stopping site for Indians – when these were originally found in the early 1930’s, the cave art was easily seen and in 1937 when the first archaeological dig was done they found over 30,000 artifacts found with some thought to be over 9,000 years old.    Today – the pictographs have faded and only a few can be seen with the naked eye.

May 21, 2017:

Sunday – an almost day of rest.  We had a very pleasant breakfast then off to church.  In searching for a local meetinghouse we had an option of about 10 buildings in 10 miles – reminds me of Utah.

Had a nice Sacrament Meeting in the Shepherd Park Ward – what was great was they discussed the church’s Pathways Program.  I learned a lot and would highly recommend this option to someone looking to go back to college.

Brian waiting in the RV for the end of Sacrament – then we headed off to visit Boot Hill Cemetery – it is a very small little place.  Then a drive along the Rimrock mountains that surround Billings and then a visit to the Billings Temple.

An evening of planning for our visits to South & North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan.  It turns out that based upon our schedule we will have to skip Illinois and Indiana this year.

May 22, 2017:

Up and at’em this morning.  First stop was breakfast at McDonald’s and the gas station.  Heading East on I-94 we are staying in Terry, MT tonite.

Our first history stop was the Pompey Pillar – an official site on the Lewis & Clark Expedition.   Though great journals were kept by Lewis & Clark and members of their party, there is no physical evidence left of their travels across the country, except for this one location where William Clark actually carved his name and the date of his visit into the rock here.

The rock is approx. 200’ from bottom to top – we climbed to the top to visit the actual carving and then had a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside.  At the top is an artist rendering of what the view might have looked like of Custer’s Army encamped on the bank of the river across from Pompey Pillar.

Next stop – Miles City, MT.  The Stoebe family has a history in the area, and Brian wanted to take photos of the various gravestones belonging to ancestors.   Two and a half hours later – he didn’t find them all and found that the groundskeeper was very unhelpful.

Dinner in Miles City, MT then off to Terry, MT where we found this very quaint RV Park called – Small Towne RV Campground.  The campground isn’t much to look at – but Mel the owner makes up for it in small town charm.   He informed us when we made our reservations a week ago that the cost is $25 cash – no check or credit cards.  He provided us with full hookups, a welcome mat for our entrance, a small garbage can for our trash, a book of local attractions as well as coupons for various local businesses and some of the best WIFI we’ve had to date.

May 23, 2017:

We left Terry, MT heading East to Glendive, MT.   Here we visited the Dinosaur Fossil Museum and the Frontier Gateway Museum.

The Dinosaur Fossil Museum has a unique perspective – they have their Museum set up with dinosaurs based upon a Creation by God philosophy.  Very unique – and as Brian said:  You can take the facts and twist them to any point of view.

Next stop just down the street with the Frontier Gateway Museum – unfortuneately the museum was closed, but the caretaker was on the premises and she allowed us to wander the exterior grounds to see the items that they have on site.

Now onto Wibaux, MT – our last night in Montana.  In Wibaux we visited the Wibaux Museum – Pierre Wibaux was a Frenchman who did not want to follow in his father’s footsteps – he wanted to be a cattleman on the American Frontier.   He came to Montana to pursue his dream and became a successful cattleman.   The museum is set up with various exhibits donated through the generosity of local people.  Buildings, furniture, clothing, histories, etc.   It’s located in multiple buildings and the local caretaker gave us a guided tour.    Mr. Wibaux’s father initially disowned his son, but after many years of correspondence and his return trips home, his father relented and welcomed his son back.  When his father found out the local town did not have a church he personally donated $2,000 to be used towards the building of a church in this new frontier town.  We took several photos of the church.

Tonight we stayed in a small RV Park located on a large open lot with hookups available.   It’s open and doesn’t look very well maintained.  The owner is a working mom trying to take care of her children and the residents.

May 24, 2017:

Off to North Dakota today.   A very good friend in Lancaster, CA who spent a lot of his youthful years in North Dakota recommended that we visit the Enchanted Highway.  This is a very unique little highway area that was a lot of fun to travel.  We took lots of photos and hope you enjoy it too.

We had two museums to visit today as well – Lewis & Clark Trail Museum and Fort Buford.  Unfortunately both were closed. Many things in this area don’t until after Memorial weekend.

We stayed this evening at the Roughriders RV Resort in Minot, ND.  This is a Good Sam resort – it was a very nice park.  Unfortunately for Brian we were close to the railroad tracks again – and he’s really tired of those.    It poured all night.

May 25, 2017:

This morning we started off the day at the Scandanavian Heritage Park in Minot, ND.  We walked around and viewed some very interesting buildings, sculptures and facts about the Scandanavian migration to North Dakota.   It’s a beautiful morning, and the walk was very pleasant.

Next stop was the Old Soo Depot – the original train depot for Minot, ND.  Disappointed doesn’t even express it.   The depot has been taken over more as a research center than a museum.  There were some cool china patterns from the various railroads.

Minot AFB is an active United States Air Force Base – near the base is the Dakota Territory Air Museum.    Brian spent a good 1 ½ hours viewing the planes. Some of the planes from the Texas Flying Legends are kept here for mid May to mid August. Some were there while others would be the next week.

Time for another drive – we have two turtles to see on our way to Rugby, ND.      Both turtles are man-made local attractions.  The first one is located in Bottineau – Tommy Turtle is approx. 26’ tall and sits on the world’s largest snow mobile.

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Next up was Dunseith Wee’l Turtle.    He is made up of rims, and is central to a cute little park in Dunseith, ND.

Our base this evening is a small RV park attached to a local motel ~ Oakwood Inn & RV Park.   The park is nothing to write home about – but a good place for location to spend the evening.

May 26, 2017:

We woke up in Rugby, ND today – after breakfast today, Tamara was doing the dishes when she felt a sharp pain in her stomach, and she started to feel ill again.   Similar to what happened in Denver earlier in our trip.   She felt it was a fleeting thing so we packed up and headed across the road to the Geologic Center of North America and then the Prairie Village Museum.

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Brian headed into the Prairie Village Museum while Tamara decided to hole up in the RV.   Brian asked Tamara – do we need to go to the Emergency Room?  She told him of course not – go and enjoy the museum.    Brian had been in the museum about ½ hour before Tamara called and said – time to go to the Emergency Room.

Fortunately the hospital was not too far away – Tamara was wheeled into the hospital by Brian, and spent approx. 5 minutes speaking with the intake nurse in emergency – handed over her id and her insurance card and was immediately taken into be diagnosed.   After an ultrasound, and blood draw the doctor determined that Tamara was having a gall bladder attack, and that there was an infection that needed to be dealt with.   At this point Tamara is being dosed with antibiotics to fight the infection, and a pain medication to help with the pain.  The doctor explained that due to the fact this was a holiday weekend and Rugby was a small hospital, he recommended that Tamara be transferred to the hospital in Minot, SD as they had a bigger facility and better care over the holiday.

So off Tamara went in the ambulance (with the cute EMT) – pain meds & antibiotics flowing.   The drive from Rugby to Minot takes about an hour – Brian followed in the RV and they met up again at the emergency room at Trinity Health in Minot, ND.    Brian arrived while Tamara had been whisked off for an MRI to determine what is going on.  The doctor arrived pretty quickly after the MRI to explain that Tamara was going to need 2 separate operations.   The first operation will be on Saturday May 27th wherein the doctor will need to go in and remove a gallstone that had become lodged in an area that was backing up the bile duct, and a stint would be put in that will need to be removed in 4 weeks.    Sunday surgery would be required to remove the Gall Bladder.

May 27 thru 31 and June 1 thru 3, 2017:

Brian is camping at WalMart until he can determine exactly how long Tamara will need to be in the hospital.

Both surgeries went well – the doctor was happy with both surgeries, and though getting up and walking was difficult, recovery was ongoing.    Tamara was finally able to have food on Monday May 29th – and food was a welcome respite.  Sleep for Tamara – catnaps in the hospital is all you get. With the nurses coming in and out to check vitals, alarms going off, because you’re not breathing correctly for the machine to read.

Brian made reservations at Roughrider RV Resort in Minot from Tuesday May 30 to Sunday June 4th.   Several days for Tamara to recuperate are necessary because of her lack mobility.  There was some concern when she left the hospital on Wednesday May 31st that she would be unable to get into the RV – if that happened it could have been catastrophic, but it was a non-issue.

On Thursday June 1st Brian did the laundry – he’s decided that if the only reason to keep Tamara around is laundry – it IS WORTH IT.   He hates doing laundry.

We both got some well deserved rest, and just enjoyed time together.

Trip to Sioux Falls, SD

On January 24, 2017 we flew out early from Las Vegas, NV to Sioux Falls, SD -with a brief layover in Dallas/Ft Worth, Tx we arrived into Sioux Falls in the early afternoon – just before over 6″ of snow was dumped on the city.

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We checked into our hotel – the Sleep Inn which was about 2 miles from the airport, and central to everything we did during the next 4 days.  The parking lot of the hotel shared access to a gas station and a Quizno’s and the local Dept of Public Service – aka: government office that issues driver’s licenses.

Our purpose for this trip was to establish residency in South Dakota in order to have a permanent address after we hit the road in March 2017 in our motorhome.  South Dakota has a lower tax rate than California, and after Brian did some research found that South Dakota had the LOWEST tax rate available for his Federal pension/retirement.

In October 2016 we had set up a mailing address in South Dakota through DakotaPost, our box #398.  If you ever find yourself in need of a mailing service – these people know what they are doing, feel free to use us a reference and receive $10 off your annual fees.

Our first day was spent in our room with a quick trip to Quizno’s for dinner.  We highly recommend the Turkey & Ranch sandwich with swiss cheese (we added bacon) – we had it 3 times while we were here – very very tasty and better on white bread than wheat.

Day 2 the city continued to be snowed upon and it took a while for the community to get itself dug out – so we just watched TV and enjoyed a quiet day. That evening we decided to try and find something a little different food wise and ended up at The Phillips Avenue Diner. We went specifically for the old time diner feel and the local soda shoppe – but if your going to have dinner, try something new.  Our first experience with Wisconsin Cheese Curds – FRIED no less.  Brian had the breakfast and found it good / my dinner though of tomato bisque left much to be desired.  Ever heard of bell peppers in a tomato bisque?  Me neither, dinner was spoiled, BUT the Strawberry Cheesecake Float was a redemption.  Yummy.  Made with a local soda company’s flavor, it was really good.

Day 3 – Thursday – today was the day to get things done.  A trip to DakotaPost to get our proof of mailing adddress, receipt from the hotel showing proof of a one nite stay – then off to the South Dakota Dept of Public Safety.   It turns out as a woman if you’ve changed from your maiden name (name on your birth certificate) to your current name you have to have all the documents to back it up – so since my name at time of this marriage was different than my birth certificate (married previously) I needed copies of BOTH Marriage Licenses – certified OR a current U.S. Passport.   Being the efficient person I am – both of our passports expire in 4th quarter 2017 and in order to make sure that the passports are current BEFORE we leave I had sent them in 3 weeks ago to be renewed.   So having all the appropriate documents for Brian we left the office with him being a new resident of South Dakota, license in hand California license removed from his person.

That evening we found a local movie theater and saw the movie of Arrival after we had dinner at an interesting restaurant ~ The All Day Cafe by Minerva’s.  If you have the Fish and Chips – share them, large portion, not sure I would recommend it again as it was a little bland.

Day 4- Friday – An appointment today with a our new local State Farm Agent – Taylor. Had a great conversation about insuring the vehicles at the lower insurance rates of South Dakota along with preparing the quote for our RV coverage.  Taylor recommended we get AAA so that we don’t have a lot of vehicle assistance claims that can work against us as insurance claims.  Then it was back to see Karen at DakotaPost to get the work started to transfer vehicle licensing/registration from California to South Dakota.   In SD no matter when you purchase your vehicle, registration renewal is based upon your last name.  For Stoebe that means all vehicle registrations will be due in September.    Now get this – in California my 2015 Subaru Outback cost $330 to register for 1 year in January 2017.   My registration in Sept 2017 will be approx 1/3 of this cost – WOW.

After the work of getting residency settled it was time for a road trip to Mitchell, SD.  Mitchell is a small town approx 85 miles from Sioux Falls.  It has many claims to fame – but the one we were after this trip was the Corn Palace.  The Corn Palace is a permanent building with an exterior decorated on an annual basis in corncobs.  Not just randomly but in actual art.  The exterior is changed annually with different themes, but always with corncobs and other local fauna.  Similar to the Rose Parade floats – but with corn.  On the interior is a history of the Palace from the late 1870’s to present.   It is the ONLY Corn Palace in the world.  In the late 1800’s there were many of these attractions throughout the mid-west, but this is the only one still in existence.   Though the exterior is decorated in corn, the interior houses a wonderful venue for concerts and basketball as well as other events.  The local high school basketball team uses this facility for their practices and games.  It was a great venue and we look forward to going back to Mitchell for other items of history to see in the surrounding area.

Day 5 – Saturday – our Last Day in Sioux Falls for this trip.  After getting breakfast and packing up the vehicle we headed out to AAA to get ourselves covered for our upcoming cross country vacation.  Then off to the Pettigrew Home & Museum – a free museum just outside of downtown Sioux Falls.   Richard Franklin Pettigrew aka R.F. Pettigrew was the first Senator from the State of South Dakota.  He was a true promoter of his local city/community and a help to the state as a whole as it went from territory to State.  He had what in his day may have seemed controversial views as to what could and could not work with respect to state and national growth.  He started as a Republican and left the party vocally when they no longer purported to support the views he joined them for in the first place, and became a great supporter of the Populist Party – he eventually lost his seat in the Senate but he continued to support and help local business grow in Sioux Falls.   A common practice in the late 1800’s was the “collecting” of things, then opening a drawing room for others to view these collections.   His idea though was grander, and with his brother he decided to open a Museum of everything that he had collected on his travels – locally, nationally and abroad.  He spent a lot of time in Asia and Hawaii in his travels as a Senator exploring trade and opportunities for expansion. He was not a supporter of statehood for Hawaii after meeting their people and their comments about becoming part of the United States.  His home and museum at the time of his death were donated in total to the City of Sioux Falls with specific instructions on certain things, and his desire to have his treasures shown in their current state.  It is a beautiful home with beautiful appointments and furnishings.    It’s a  highly recommend from our perspective.

First blog post

We are getting things prepared to start out and travel the United States – we’re looking forward to a fun time exploring new places, trying new food, meeting new people and with luck growing closer together.

It is our intention with our blog to share with you the people, places, food and experiences we find as we travel.   Hopefully you’ll find our updates entertaining, educational and motivating.